Steam Hardware Survey Breakdown and Analysis
Valve recently released its Steam hardware and software survey for the month of September 2017. We thought we would do a new monthly feature where we break down and analyze the latest hardware trends among Steam users.
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The most popular graphics card among Steam users is Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060. It’s a card that’s great for maxing out most games at 1080p, which is also the most common gaming resolution. 7.7 percent of Steam users reported owning the card, and it actually gained 1.1 percent in popularity over the month of September.
While the GTX 1060 comes in either 3GB or 6GB variants, the most common amount of VRAM among Steam users is 2GB. This coincides with the RAM count of the GTX 960, which is the GTX 1060’s predecessor and holds a second place 6.8 percent of the pie.
According to the survey results, most Steam users GeForce graphics cards. Nvidia’s GPUs make up 70.3 percent of the graphics landscape, whereas AMD holds a much smaller 17.1 percent. Intel’s integrated graphics solutions trail behind in third with 12.2 percent.
DirectX 12 GPUs increased in popularity by .9 percent over September. This isn’t too surprising, however, considering both AMD and Nvidia’s modern gaming GPUs support DX12.
Intel currently owns the lion’s share of the CPU market with 83.4 percent. AMD makes up the rest with 16.5 percent.
The most common Intel clock speeds fall between 3.3GHz to 3.69GHz, which are frequencies we typically see on moderately powerful quad-core desktop CPUs.
Despite AMD’s recently-released Ryzen CPUs, the company’s processors actually dipped 1.5 percent for the month.
According to the survey, 57.9 percent of Steam users own a four-core CPU, which is actually what we’d recommend for most gamers.
The second most popular tier is users with over 12GB of RAM, which makes up 24.4 percent of the pie.
At 56.7 percent, 1920x1080 is by far the most common gaming resolution. While it’s been around for a long time, it actually still managed to grow by 2.5 percent last month.
Many users may be upgrading from 1366x768, which is in second place with 17.3 percent. 1366x768 is a common resolution among older laptops.
2560x1440 is a resolution that we recommend for many enthusiast PC gamers with high-end hardware, but it came in at distant third with only 2.6 percent.
Despite all the buzz around 4K, only .79 percent of Steam gamers use a 3840x2160p monitor. This does make sense considering it’s a resolution that’s extremely graphically taxing on even high-end GPUs like the GeForce GTX 1080 and AMD Radeon RX Vega 64.
At 44.8 percent, most users reported having at least 1TB of storage space. 25.2 percent of all users reported having somewhere between 100GB to 249GB of free space available.
With a current 50.1 percent grasp on the market, the HTC Vive holds a small lead over the Oculus Rift, which currently sits at 46.8 percent. This gap has been shrinking significantly with the recent Rift price drop in July, however.
With Vive and Rift ownership marking a respective .19 and .18 percent of Steam’s overall hardware survey, however, both headsets still only represent a small percentage of Steam users.
At 45.3 percent, the 64-bit version of Windows 10 is the most common operating system among Steam users. Windows 7 64-bit isn’t far behind at 41 percent, though.
OSX makes up 2.7 percent of Steam users. The most popular Apple computer is the Macbook Pro, which takes up 51.3 percent of that ecosystem.
Despite Valve’s push for SteamOS in recent years, Linux represents just .6 percent of operating systems, and fell behind .03 percent over the month.
When you take into consideration the most common Steam hardware across all categories, you actually get a decent 1080p gaming system. Let’s take a look:
GPU: GTX 1060
CPU: 4-core Intel processor clocked between 3.3GHz and 3.69GHz
System RAM: 8GB
OS: Windows 10 64-bit
What adjustments would we make here? While 8GB of RAM is fine for gaming, upgrading to 16GB of RAM across two sticks would increase memory bandwidth and allow you to open up more tabs in Google’s Chrome browser, and will help you with other productivity tasks.
Steam’s hardware survey doesn’t get very granular with its storage information. This means it doesn’t parse how many users use solid-state drives vs hard drives vs combo configurations, but we recommend most users get a hard drive coupled with an SSD. We suggest you have at least a 120GB SSD for your operating system and favorite games/programs.